Lenders get innovative to give first-time buyers a boost
A new line of products have been launched for house hunters who have only a limited deposit. Chiara Cavaglieri sees how they compare
Sunday 20 January 2013
The struggling first-time buyer market received a welcome boost this week with the launch of the Barclays Family Springboard mortgage. Available to borrowers with only a 5 per cent deposit, it is the latest in a line of innovative products designed to help aspiring homeowners get a foot on the ladder, but how does it shape up against similar products?
Only 34 per cent of first-time buyers in the UK were able to buy their home without any extra help last year, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The biggest challenge is finding willing lenders and then being able to save enough to cover the often hefty deposits they demand – the average is around £27,000.
Increasingly, however, lenders seem more willing to use the so-called bank of mum and dad to lend at a higher loan-to-value (LTV). With increased competition in the market, boosted by the multi-billion pound Funding for Lending scheme, there is hope that things will improve further and moves such as Barclays' could spark action from hitherto hesitant lenders.
"The launch of this scheme, available more widely and on more competitive terms than some might have speculated prior to its launch, will serve as a cattle-prod to other lenders that have become comfortable lending to low-risk borrowers only," says Ben Thompson from the Legal & General Mortgage Club.
The Family Springboard offer means a customer would only need to save £8,000 to buy a home worth £160,000, with a family member putting up a further 10 per cent of the purchase price (£16,000) into a Helpful Start savings account.
Fixed for three years at 4.69 per cent, your monthly repayments would be £861.34 a month (based on a 25-year repayment mortgage). Provided all the payments are kept up to date, after three years the family savings are returned along with any interest earned and the mortgage becomes a lifetime tracker at 3.99 per cent plus base rate.
"These guarantor mortgages have increased in popularity over the past few months with more lenders introducing this type of mortgage to their ranges," says Charlotte Nelson of financial comparison site Moneyfacts.co.uk.
"With savings rates currently low, more parents might look elsewhere to invest their money and tempted to help their children get on the housing ladder by providing a guarantee."
Compared to a standard mortgage at 95 per cent loan to value (LTV) ratio, this offering from Barclays has been priced attractively; Melton Mowbray Building Society offers a mortgage for first-time buyers with a 5 per cent deposit costing 5.49 per cent with a £998 fee on top.
At the same time Barclays has cut the rate on other mortgages, including knocking 1 per cent off its three-year, fixed-rate deal (up to 70 per cent LTV). Existing homeowners caught out when their lenders increased their standard variable rates last year can also remortgage onto the bank's two-year fix which has been cut from 3.49 per cent to 2.99 per cent.
In addition, Barclays offers the Family Affordability Plan under which both your income and that of your parents counts towards the calculations used to determine how much they will lend.
"If approved, all parties are liable for the monthly payments, although your parents don't need to be named on the deeds which means they can easily be removed by remortgaging later down the line with no equity to transfer.
By far the best rates on the market today are still reserved for customers able to raise a high deposit, so any competitive packages aimed at first-timers are good news.
Another product on the market offering similar help is the Lloyds Lend a Hand three-year fix. Here you need 20 per cent of the property's price placed in a linked savings account, which is double that of the Barclays Family Springboard, but the mortgage rate does fall to 4.4 per cent. Or, if parents agree to using any spare equity in their home as additional security, the National Counties Family First mortgage has a rate of 4.89 per cent fixed for two years (with a £495 fee) up to 95 per cent LTV, while Aldermore's Family Guarantee mortgage costs 5.98 per cent for three years (with a £1,298 fee) up to 100 per cent LTV.
"A guarantor mortgage lets either a parent or relative assure a mortgage in the event the dependent fails to make the repayments.
"For first-time buyers having a guarantor can often mean they are able to get on the property ladder, borrow more than the bank normally would allow and their criteria is often less harsh," says Ms Nelson.
Despite the benefits, no mortgage should be entered into lightly and everyone involved should understand clearly what's required of them. With Aldermore, for example, the relative (parent, step-parent or grandparent) must be willing to guarantee any borrowing above 75 per cent which means the bank takes a charge of up to 25 per cent of the value of the property. So, if you as the borrower miss payments, the guarantor is liable for that charge.
There may also be specific rules that vary from one lender to the next – with Aldermore the guarantor must be under 60 at the outset, while Market Harborough will not offer any of its assisted deals to borrowers buying flats.
Affordable housing schemes have also been introduced to give the market a kickstart, including the Government's FirstBuy shared equity scheme under which the developer and Government teams up to provide a 20 per cent equity mortgage so that you only need a 5 per cent deposit and a traditional mortgage to pick up the remaining 75 per cent.
The equity loan is interest-free for the first five years, after which you pay 1.75 per cent in year six and 1 per cent over inflation thereafter.
Similarly with NewBuy, which is also Government-backed, you can access 95 per cent LTV loans which are backed by a special indemnity fund if the homebuyer cannot pay the mortgage.
Both schemes, however, are only available on new builds and the number of participating lenders may be limited.
While innovation is to be applauded, it is still worth remembering that the more you can save for a deposit, the better the deal you can access.
For example, borrowers with a 15 per cent deposit could get a three-year fix at only 3.69 per cent via Leeds Building Society, with a £999 fee.
So, while you may get that foot on the ladder earlier with Barclays Family Springboard, you'd pay over the odds for the privilege.
Case study: 'The Lend a Hand scheme was the only way to get the money, without a ridiculous interest rate'
When salesman Tom Cumner, 26, and his partner Stephanie James, 22, an estate agent, wanted to buy their first home in Southampton in 2011, they almost fell at the first hurdle.
"We had been saving for a while, but we found most deals were at 10 per cent," says Tom. "To be able to get the house that we wanted we couldn't see how we could raise that kind of money in the time that we wanted to do it".
After a thorough search, the pair came across the Lloyds Lend a Hand scheme and were able to buy their home for £111,000 in the spring, putting down a 5 per cent deposit and using Tom's parents savings to make the extra 20 per cent, which was placed into a holding account where it generates interest at 3 per cent.
Tom accepts the scheme is built on trust, but his parents are confident the mortgage will paid each month and the risk is limited on the property because it was so cheap.
"The scheme enabled us to get on the property ladder. Lloyds was then the only lender that would give us the money without a ridiculous interest rate," said Tom.
Independent Partners: Get fee-free expert mortgage advice and find the right mortgage deal for you.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads